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Providing evidence to improve practice

Action: Plant individual plants Shrubland and Heathland Conservation

Key messages

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  • One replicated, randomized, controlled study in the USA found that planting California sagebrush plants did not increase the cover of native plant species compared to sowing of seeds or a combination of planting and sowing seeds. One replicated, randomized, controlled study in South Africa found that planting Brownanthus pseudoschlichtianus plants increased plant cover, but not the number of plant species.
  • One study in the USA found that a majority of planted plants survived after one year.

Supporting evidence from individual studies

1 

A replicated, randomized, controlled study in a degraded sagebrush scrubland habitat in California, USA (DeSimone 2011) found that planting California sagebrush Artemisia californica plants did not increase cover of native plant species compared to sowing of seeds, or a combination of planting and sowing seeds. Native plant species cover in areas where California sagebrush was planted (2%) was not higher than in areas where seeds were sown (2–9%) or areas where plants were planted and seeds sown (7–14%). California sagebrush plants were planted in six randomly located 1 m2 plots, while six plots were sown with seeds of shrubland plants, and another six plots were planted with plants and sown with seeds. Plant cover was recorded every year in May-July in the 1 m2 plots. Year of the study is not provided.

2 

A study in 2007–2008 in a desert site disturbed by road building in Arizona, USA (Abella et al. 2015) found that planting shrubs resulted in a high shrub survival rate. After one year, the survival rate of 10 shrub species was high (86%). Seeds were collected from species in the wild and sown in pots in April 2006. In January-February 2007 plants were planted at the site. Survival of all plants was recorded in January 2008.

3 

A replicated, randomized, controlled study between 2007 and 2011 in a karoo shrubland in Richtersveld, South Africa (Hanke et al 2015) found that planting of Brownanthus pseudoschlichtianus plants increased plant cover but not the number of plant species. After three years, the plant cover of areas where B. pseudoschlichtianus plants were planted (8%) was higher than that in areas where there was no planting (4%). The number of plant species in areas where B. pseudoschlichtianus plants were planted (8 species) was not significantly different from areas where shrubland plants were not planted (7 species). Five 1 ha blocks were divided using a fence to exclude cattle. In each block B. pseudoschlichtianus one 10 m x 10 m plot while another plot was left without addition of plants. Vegetation in each 10 m x 10 m plot was assessed annually between 2008 and 2011.

Referenced papers

Please cite as:

Martin P.A., Rocha R., Smith R.K. & Sutherland W.J. (2019) Shrubland and Heathland Conservation. Pages 493-538 in: W.J. Sutherland, L.V. Dicks, N. Ockendon, S.O. Petrovan & R.K. Smith (eds) What Works in Conservation 2019. Open Book Publishers, Cambridge, UK.